KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia faces stiff competition to host the 2019 Asian Games as the region’s emerging economic powerhouse Vietnam is set to bid for the Asiad as well.
News of the challenge came on the day Malaysia lost its bid to host the 2013 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Congress to Argentine capital Buenos Aires.
The Vietnam News Agency reported that the Vietnam Olympic Committee had proposed that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism get the government’s permission to host the 2019 Asian Games.
Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Danh Thai was quoted as saying that the sports sector should invest in selected sports, especially sports that featured in the Olympic Games.
He said that as Vietnam had maintained its position in the top three among Southeast Asian countries in sports, the country now needed to focus on the Asiad and the Olympics.
“Therefore, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism would ask the government to host the 2019 Asiad,” he said.
Vietnam, which hosted the 2003 SEA Games, is also seeking to host the 2016 Asian Beach Games, the 2018 Asian Indoor Sports and Martial Arts Games and the 27th SEA Games in 2013.
Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) honorary secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi told Bernama recently that Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was also keen to host the 2019 Asiad.
Neighbouring Doha (Qatar) hosted the 2006 edition after beating Kuala Lumpur for the host job.
So far, only Malaysia has officially submitted the bid for the 2019 Asiad through a letter of intent to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in December last year.
Malaysia had initially considered hosting the 2010 Asiad, which has gone to Guangzhou, China, but it was turned down by the government due to the high cost involved. South Korea will host the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.